Gen. McNabb Cites ‘Superb’
Efforts of Commercial Fleet

June 2011

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During an April 7 hearing conducted by the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Duncan McNabb, commander, U.S. Transportation Command, reiterated the vital need for
a strong U.S. sealift capability, and he also praised the efforts of the American commercial maritime industry.

During a question-and-answer session at the hearing, Gen. McNabb said TRANSCOM’s “commercial partners … stepped up superbly to both bringing this stuff out of Iraq and the stuff into Afghanistan….” He also described cargo preference laws and the U.S. Maritime Security Program as “really valuable so that we keep a very, very strong U.S.-flag fleet, which
is in the interests of the taxpayer and in the interest of the war-fighter.”


Following is an excerpt from Gen. McNabb’s statement:

“Sealift is the primary means for delivering ground forces and sustainment during major
combat operations, and has been responsible for delivering over 90 percent of all cargo
to Afghanistan and Iraq. Because of the superb volunteer participation of commercial U.S.Flagged vessels in the Maritime Security Program (MSP), we did not have to activate a single ship in the Surge Fleet or the Ready Reserve Force (RRF) to meet the President’s aggressive timeline for the surge and drawdown of forces in Afghanistan and Iraq—a remarkable achievement.

“The large, medium speed, roll-on, roll-off ships (LMSRs) in the Surge Fleet, the vessels of the RRF and the commercial U.S. Flag Fleet in the MSP and Voluntary Intermodal Support Agreement (VISA) are all required to meet the Nation’s strategic sealift requirements. While cargo preference laws and national defense sealift policies ensure the viability of the U.S. flag commercial fleet, we must also continue to keep the Surge Fleet and Ready Reserve Force vessels at an equal state of readiness as well as our citizen mariners who man these vessels during operations in USCENTCOM and around the world….

“USTRANSCOM’s partnership with the U.S. commercial sealift industry and the Department of Transportation has been vitally important in developing new routes for conveying cargo
around the globe – particularly to regions with undeveloped infrastructure. Through programs like the Maritime Security Program (MSP), the Voluntary Intermodal Sealift
Agreement and the Voluntary Tanker Agreement, the Department of Defense gains
access to U.S. commercial capabilities and transportation networks while ensuring the
continued viability of both the U.S. flag fleet and the pool of citizen mariners who man those
vessels. Last year, Congress ensured the continuation of the MSP by extending it an additional 10 years to 2025. We look forward to working with Congress and this committee to refine this program between now and the MSP implementation date in 2015.”


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